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View Sample Pages : Alton Telegraph, April 09, 1999

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Alton Telegraph (Newspaper) - April 9, 1999, Alton, Illinois SERVING THE RIVER BEND SINCE 1836 The outlook Partly cloudy and warm. High 77; low 54 Pagel>8 APP Up again Dow Jones keeps on rolling higher Page D-l Vol. 164, No. 84 — 50 cents    Friday,    April 9,1999 Kissinger at Principia We must win’ in Yugoslavia, former secretary of state says Small crowd takes sides on tax cap issue By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE — Although turnout was low for a forum on tax caps Thursday night, there were plenty of heated disagreements. The Madison County Board was host for the forum, which drew nearly 40 citizens and about 20 politicians to the Administration Building in downtown Edwardsville. “I’m very disappointed this room is not overflowed. This is a very small group that’s interested,” said board member Homer Henke, R-Moro. While Henke kept his comments neutral, every other speaker had a clear stance on the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, commonly called “tax caps,” that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot throughout the county. Board member Don Garrett, D-Madison, was one of the most impassioned speakers. He said the poor people of the county would benefit from tax caps because politicians would “pocket” fewer property tax dollars. “If voters don’t approve this, they’re absolutely out of their minds. There is never any reason for any local unit of government to raise taxes above the rate of inflation without voter approval. There’s no room for lazy employees or wasted programs.” Fellow board member Steve Stobbs, R-Godfrey, agreed that caps would curb government spending. “It’s a means of holding governments more accountable to the people, who essentially are the government.” Jackie Monroe, president of the Alton Taxpayers League, said tax caps would affect a small percentage of taxes available to local taxing districts. “I really hope this passes, because taxpayers need the psychological break. They need to know that government officials are sensitive to their needs,” Monroe said. But speakers on the other side implied that sensitivity may be pointless if various taxing districts become financially strapped by tax caps. “If (Edwardsville School) District 7 is ■ See CAP, Page A-9 Checks issue nearly cost Bathon job American diplomacy in the last quarter-centu-ry.” Kissinger’s appearance kicked off a three-day Public Affairs Conference, which also features Jody Williams, who received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign to ban land mines. More than 130 delegates from 50 colleges and universities across the country are gathered on the campus for Principia’s 50th Public Affairs Conference, said senior student Matthew Sonnesyn, executive director of the student-organized conference. Kissinger is probably the “most influential diplomat in modern history," Sonnesyn told the crowd as he introduced the speaker. The focus of this year’s national student discussion on the campus is “Changing Diplomacy: Facing Global Challenges for the Twenty-First Century." Kissinger made his mark in world history as a diplomat and secretary of state for Presidents Nixon and Ford. Today, the 75-year-old Noble Peace Prize recipient is keeping his experienced diplomatic eye on the military conflict in Kosovo. Kissinger stood on the lawn of the Principia president’s home with Moffett and U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and talked briefly about the crisis in Kosovo. Kissinger, a former national security adviser, is keeping watch on a move by Spyros Kyprianou, the former president of Cyprus, who arrived in Belgrade Thursday to negotiate the freedom of three U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Serbs. Kyprianou, speaker of the Cypriot parliament, said he planned to meet Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic today and that the Americans might be freed during the long Orthodox Easter weekend "I’m in favor of the mission to free them, as long as we don’t make any concessions (to Milosevic),” Kissinger said.    .. . The Telegraph/JOHN BADMAN Matt Darr Jr., an employee of Williams Office Products Inc., paints a sign on the shop’s front window, with the help of his reflection, reminding people to not forget the three POWS being held by Serbian forces In Yugoslavia. Story, Page A-10 By PAUL MACKIE Telegraph staff writer EDWARDSVILLE - Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon nearly lost his job because of his refusal to sign payroll checks, State’s Attorney William Haine said Thursday. Bathon admitted to The Telegraph that he refused to sign the checks for several hours on April I, and several county officials witnessed that refusal to pay $247,896 worth of claims checks. Late Thursday, Haine released a 12-page opinion based on    Von Nida    Bathon Illinois statutes that he hopes will put to rest the issues of whose names, if any, will appear on the checks and where those checks will be stored. “Since Bathon did agree, after several hours, to place his signature upon these checks for payment, he has avoided a conclusion by me that he neglected or refused to perform the duties of his office, which would have subjected him to removal from office,” Haine wrote. “I am confident that this will not happen again.” Haine ruled Thursday that Bathon had no legal backing for his requests to change a procedure that has worked in Madison County “over the past decades, not only without scandal or theft, but also with increasing efficien- ey."    if    , The internal dispute dates to a meeting in November between Bathon, D-Pontoon Beach, and County Clerk Mark Von Nida, D-Granite City. The checks, which also are used for County Board-approved items such as mileage reimbursements, office supplies, legal expenses and ■ See BATHON, Page A-9 By ANDE YAKSTIS Telegraph staff writer The Telegraph/RUSS SMITH Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with reporters Thursday before speaking at Principia College in Elsah. ELSAH — NATO allies should move ahead to force the withdrawal of Serb troops from Kosovo and end the bloody military conflict, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Thursday at Principia College. “Now that we’re in (the military conflict), we have to win,” Kissinger said. “We should strive for withdrawal of the Serbs and work for selfgovernment in Kosovo." Kissinger gave his assessment of the crisis in Kosovo before he delivered a major address in Cox Auditorium on the Principia campus. The internationally renowned diplomat was applauded as he stood to speak in the auditorium. “Our students and staff are delighted to welcome Henry Kissinger to the campus,” Principia President George Moffett said. “Mr Kissinger has been the foremost practitioner of Reflecting on POWS Area/Illinois .A-3,10 Bulletin Board .A-8 Business......D-1 Classifieds C-4 Comics.......D-5 Editorial ......A-6 Horoscope ----D-5 Nation/world .. .C-3 Obituaries.....A-7 Camp, Cravens, Dunlap, Freeman, Gainer, Geers, Hamby, Hudson, Jutting, Pea, Ratliff, Thompson, Stover Scoreboard B-2 Stocks........D-2 Television . i.. .D-7 EPA probes asbestos complaint at Olin Home By DARRYL HOWLETT Telegraph staff writer EAST ALTON - The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether residents of the Olin Home may have been exposed to asbestos during a renovation two years ago. One resident says he is fearful that he may have been exposed. Jay Schneider, 40, who lives in the apartments at 310 Smith St., said that contractors work ing for the Madison County Housing Authority two years ago removed tile from the apartments — tile that he says contained asbestos. Dennis McMurray, a spokesman for the I EPA, said that although the agency hadn’t received any reports, an inspection team would be sent out to the apartments this week. Schneider sent a letter dated March 19 to Housing Authority executive director Jackie Bone and commissioners Vernon Blom, Charlie Hester and Joe Willie Young. The letter states: “... I’m writing in concern about finding out that I and the other residents here have been exposed to asbestos. When I moved in here, they were converting my efficiency apartment into a one-bedroom apartment. The contractor at that time was breaking up the tile and throwing it into buckets and carrying it out to our Dumpsters and throwing it in. The doors of these apartments were left open, not sealed off in any way. “Last week, we had a meeting in the lobby, and I asked about these other apartments being converted and about the tile. I was told by the facility manager, Nathaniel Frison, that not all 9-inch tile was asbestos and that workers would not work around it. “Well, I found out differently. They did. They have. And it was done when the other con- ■ See ASBESTOS, Page A-9 ;